The term “curate’s egg” is one I use occasionally but is almost exclusively unknown by American friends and colleagues, who usually stare back at me with bewilderment. It originated from a cartoon in the British satirical publication, Punch way back in 1895 and subsequently became part of the English language, at least for some.
Bishop: “I’m afraid you’ve got a bad egg, Mr Jones”; Curate: “Oh, no, my Lord, I assure you that parts of it are excellent!”
[“True Humility” by George du Maurier, originally published in Punch, 9 November 1895.]
Originally it summed up the old British stereotype of “stiff upper lip” and “carry on” attitude, basically suggesting that, no matter how bad a situation, we should make the best of it, and just get on with it.
Sterling stuff, indeed!
These days I think the meaning has been changed slightly to mean a mixture of good and bad, although mainly bad.
Now, I could think of some deep and meaningful situation to apply this to, perhaps stretching it to to the current US Presidential Race, for example, but instead I am going to be very self-indulgent (as if writing a blog isn’t self-indulgent enough!) I will use this phrase to provide a promised update on the two technical activities I blogged about recently, namely the upgrade to my beloved (?) Asus laptop, and secondly, repair of my daughter’s iPhone 5c.
The laptop upgrade to a solid state drive (SSD) was meant to be “just” a case of cloning my original disk and then swapping it, so I duly procured a named SSD: (Crucial 480GB) and swapped out my second HDD so I could do the business using EaseUS Todo Backup software.
The problems started immediately when Windoze7 wouldn’t recognize the SSD so I had to use disk manager to initialize it for it to be usable. Cloning was fairly straightforward but the next snag came when Windoze wouldn’t boot up from the new drive, even when selecting it in BIOS. A few hours of head scratching and reading on the interweb, and not really wanting to play about in the Registry too much, and I ended up downloading Macrium Reflect to see if this could help.
This natty software, like that from EaseUS, is free to use for 30-days, but unlike the former it comes with a much better 350+ page pdf user guide which is very helpful. Cranking up Macrium Reflect for the first time I was prompted to create a Windows PE bootable rescue disk (or USB in my case as I have no drives!). Rebooting from this USB and I only had to follow a few prompts on the menus to get my newly minted SSD recognised as a bootable drive.
Rebooting again, with fingers crossed and success, my old Asus was flying again!
Now to the iPhone 5c story. An investment of $10 plus shipping for a new battery and $5 for the tool set needed (a tiny screwdriver set, including the infamous “pentalobe” required (designed) by Apple, plastic pry bars and a suction cup) and I was ready to go.
Opening the case was easy but why on earth (yes, I think you can probably guess why) did Apple have to stick the battery to the case with such strong adhesive? After very carefully prodding and pulling I managed to release the old battery and replace with the new one. Reattaching everything I eagerly plugged it into the charger. Nothing. Except for a low hum from the phone there was no sign of life. No combination button presses to reset it! So, ok the “genius” in the store was right after all – it’s broken! It still irks me though that they made no effort to open up the phone and even take a look at it, leaving me to do that. I guess that is genius (or at least cost-effective) customer service from their perspective.
So, all in all a bit of a curate’s egg for my weekend of technology. Good in part!
As a final piece to this story, when Punch Magazine closed in 1992, after 151 years, they re-published their famous cartoon in their final edition. This time they revised the caption to reflect how much modern society had changed over the century between publication:
Curate: “This f***ing egg’s off!”
So much for progress?